tv Newsmakers CSPAN March 9, 2014 6:00pm-6:31pm EDT
, portable tv. book tv.of th >> "newsmakers" welcomes mr. kevin brady. he is joining us from his home. i want to start this morning. friday the new economic numbers for february have just come out. the number is unemployment at about 6.7%, the economy adding 175,000 jobs -- i would like you to act to the desk jobs. i would like you to tell your reaction to the statement. >> every month we add new jobs is a good month.
we are very much stuck in the first gear, especially for years after the recession. what percentage of adult americans are working? that is a telltale sign of how strong the recovery is. unfortunately, there are far fewer american adults working out than when the recession ended four years ago for proportionally. that is not the sign of a healthy recovery. we have more coming in for part time. that is encouraging as well. this is just not an acceptable recovery. it is extremely disappointing. we have to do better. >> joining me are two reporters from capitol hill. eric watson is part of the economic reporting team. tim albertina with a focus on leadership.
>> the president released his $3.9 trillion budget this past week. i just came from an event with burwell. she talks about things like the earned income tax credit, something that could happen this year. was there anything in the budget that you like? was anything that can be done? >> it seems more like a campaign document. it goes back to let's spend more, tax more, some of the things that got us in trouble in the first place. what i want is a serious discussion on how we phase important programs like social security and medicare, critical financially for the country and our seniors, they wanted a much stronger statement and working with us on fixing the broken tax code. on trade, which is one of
america's strength. we have an opportunity for a banner year and job creation from new trade agreements. almost nothing there at substance. this was disappointing. >> let's cut straight to the intrigue. we know that dave camp is term limited as chairman of the ways and means committee. you are next in line to chair that committee. congressman ryan has obviously expressed interest in taking over the ways and means committee once he steps down. you've also expressed interest in saying when the time is right you will be making the case to leadership that you should be chairing that committee. when is the time right? how intense would you expect that campaign to be against mr. ryan? >> paul ryan is a terrific friend and leader. we have been working our way up together for many years. we have ideas about where we can
go on tax reform and how we're going to advance these trade agreements. the time is not quite right. we are both focused on helping advance the reform discussion draft which i think is just critical. i am in the middle of trying to find a permanent solution on how we reimburse doctors with medicare. i feel like i'm qualified and prepared to lead the committee. at the right time i will make the case to my colleagues. i think we have a strong case to make. we want to focus on the couple of big picture issues, tax reform draft. >> do you expect any awkwardness? is this like two high school buddies chasing the same girl? [laughter] >> that is the first time i heard that analogy but it is a good one. i do not expect to be acrimonious in any way.
paul and i have similar principles of many of these issues. we are friends. we talked about this. we are both focused on being in a position to lead this committee in the future. we are fortunate we will build off a strong foundation. i think the competition of ideas is really healthy for our confidence. >> if you were to assume the helm of the ways and means committee, how would you are -- further the tax reform plan? are there things you would do differently? any aspect of it you would do differently? >> you have never really experienced a love/hate relationship until you have done comprehensive tax reform. there is no question there are provisions that i think are very important to a program of tax code. there are others i am not a big fan of. that is the case for everybody. the reason for laying out the draft was to have a very calm, adult conversation on how we
build a tax code built for growth for families and businesses. there are areas i would do differently. we are inviting the american public, we are inviting business, we are inviting our lawmakers, to take a look at the specifics of the draft, to look at the big picture of how it will create jobs and lowered the rates and bring those ideas on how they can make it progress. at every step in the process, we ought to be looking at how we can make this even more of a progrowth reform. >> can you be more specific on things you do not like about the plan? are you satisfied with a 35% top rate? >> i will not go into detail on the areas where i may have a different view. if every member of congress does not have things they like and do not like in the tax reform bill than they are not looking closely enough.
in real life tax reform, there are real-life trade-offs. those are difficult. it is complex. i think reform is difficult but doable. i think the next four or five months are very important to get the reactions that and a thoughtful analysis back from industries as we go forward. that is what i'm going to keep focused on. >> one thoughtful or not so thoughtful response we heard last week from the speaker when he was asked about the specifics of chairman camp's reform, his exact quote was "blah, blah, blah, blah." what do you make of the rather tepid response? >> how i interpreted his words were, i am very excited about this next step in tax reform.
the truth is you cannot be serious about advancing tax reform until someone someday has laid out the first top to bottom rewrite. that is exactly what he did. it is now creating exactly the kind of analysis and response we are hoping. industry for example is going back to look not just at the first one but the overall picture. what is the policy behind this? that is what we hoped for. how long this stage takes, i do not know exactly. i do know there is no way to advance this without having the steps taken. >> realistically, you do not expect a vote on the tax reform plan this year. correct? >> i do not know what the timetable is in the house. i also do not know what the change in the senate is. we do know that we cannot take another step without having this discussion. i think over the next month the
next steps will sort of bring itself forward depending on the reaction and how the ideas we received our incorporated, how we continue to make it more program. i cannot predict how it will be. >> the white house budget that came out calls for this infrastructure plan, $302 billion. it would pay for half of that through corporate tax reform. given the timeline that you're talking about, would you say that is just a pipe dream to do that this year? is that just not doable? >> i think it is not. the truth is -- reforming the tax code for businesses and for families ought to be focus on exactly that, lowering those rates, making it much more simpler for businesses and families, rather than cherry picking a few provisions and then using that for more spending. i am not a fan of that.
i think every provision that we change, every loophole that we close ought to go to be lower rates. i think that is a more progrowth approach. >> going back to a minute ago about starting a discussion on tax reform, there was an internal debate brewing at this session of congress as far as whether the house republicans would use this election year to run out the clock and maybe make mid-term elections a referendum on president obama and the health care law or whether house republicans would advance a progrowth policy agenda and strike a sharp contrast. you said we have been just oppositional for far too long and it is time to put forth our own ideas.
are you seeing that happening in the house? are you confident with only 70 legislation days remaining that the house republicans will be putting forth a bold and aggressive policy agenda? >> i think we will. the clock is ticking, but we have a number of months before people go to the polls. it is not enough to be against this president. we have a lot of good ideas on job creation, tax reform being a perfect part of it. in the new health care law, it is helping some people but it is hurting an awful lot more. it is also a drag on the economy. progrowth ideas, tax reform, health care, making it a lot more balance is about getting people more opportunities and letting our ideas come forth. we are the party of ideas. i think we are the party of good ideas. i want to make sure we use this time to make it very clear to the american public. >> a quick question on that message. just this past week there was a vote on flood insurance.
your good friend voted against the flood insurance bill. that came after a divided republican vote on the farm bill. how united are republicans in their fiscal and economic policy? are these divisions going to fade? are we going to keep seeing them unless such as when the ryan budget comes up? >> we are not nearly as united as we would like to be. i would move the flood insurance will out of the discussion. the bigger issues are complex. we have a very independent, highly educated and engaged republican conference that will have different ideas. what i do know is if we are unified we can have a say in the way it is operating and the direction it is going. it is to find the common ground. i think the progrowth issues like finding a better way to
make health care more affordable, hiring at the local level, those are principles that unite us. >> may i ask, in terms of the internal politics of the conference there is a talk of the key party insurgent wing as opposed to the more established wing. you find yourself more in the middle, someone well regarded from the leadership team. going forward, you talked about the leadership team attempting at coelescing around it. how much longer do you anticipate that to take?
how should there be a changing of the guard as to who is in these leadership positions? >> i would go back. a basic premise is the house is so reflective of the public itself. republicans around the country are very frustrated. they are frustrated with this white house and the direction of government. they are frustrated congress cannot do more to rein in executive orders and make up laws as the white house goes along. our last conference reflects that frustration. just back home, all republican families and businesses have not yet united on how is the best way to move forward. we are reflective of that as well. i do not think that persists in the long run. it is becoming more and more
clear that when unify we have a clear voice. that is what pulls us together. that is what will pull us together. >> there was a very interesting gop primary. the senator won his primary. pete sessions also won his primary. some say this is the establishment wing of the republicans versus the tea party. what can you say about this past week in texas politics? >> i would not characterize it that way necessarily. i think you have very strong individual conservatives like pete sessions and john cornyn unquestionably conservative with strong support grassroots back home. we also have very conservative candidates winning open
statewide seats and also at the state and local level as well. i would say the tea party continues to be very strong in texas. i think texas continues to be very conservative. one of the areas i want to make sure we focus on is our message of opportunity and growth. it needs to be available to our hispanic voters, our african american voters, our asian voters. i want to make sure they understand that we want all of the votes to rise. we want them with us as we grow the economy. that is an important lesson. >> there is a lot of talk in your home state of texas about the rising hispanic population. it seems every cycle for the last four or eight years we have been hearing that sooner or
later texas will be a purple state. how do you see the demographics shift on the ground there in not only your district or statewide? how did that impact what you were just speaking about? >> there is no question that if republicans fail to compete and win for hispanic votes, this will not be a republican state in the long run. i am convinced we can. immigration reform itself is not enough. i cannot see a path to having that success with our hispanic voters if that is not part of it. i do not support the senate immigration bill. i think it is wrong on a number of counts. i think there is a chance to really close the backdoor of illegal immigration and fix legal immigration that allows us
to have the -- with hispanic voters. i want to compete and win hispanic votes. we will have to do that in texas if republicans hope to remain in control and if we want texas to be in the republican column every four years. >> the immigration principles outlined by speaker boehner at your retreat, are you on board with the principles? if they were a bit vague as far as legislative specifics, but the general idea, were you on board? >> it was a good starting point. it did not embrace the senate immigration bill. let's close the borders in a smart way so we do not repeat the problem. let's create a workforce and inviting in the low and high skilled to make sure our economy continues to grow. and having a discussion about what we do with those who are here illegally. what do we do for their children? what i was most impressed with at the retreat was the
discussion was really about how all this works together, what the timing of it should be. i think more republicans understand we have the right message for our hispanic minority voters. it is often clouded because of this issue. we want to have a clear shot to get our message out. i think that is a change in the way we have looked at the issues before. >> we have about five minutes left. >> trade is one of your signature issues. there have been some comments from harry reid this is not the time to talk about fast-track. there seems to be problems in the negotiating of tpp. what do you see of the outlook? is there any way fast-track can get done? should the president or house gop be doing more? >> it is a struggling economy as we let off at the top of the segment. we ought to be looking at not
just buying american but selling american all throughout the world. we are good at it. the trade with europe is huge. we have the ability to have an up or down vote on these agreements. i would like to see the president do much more. he has been a leader in the korean-columbian-panama trade agreements. we will need him to lead again on the trade priorities act that every president should have. i was disappointed by his statement to delay such an important step until after the election. i do not think the american public can wait. republicans will provide strong support for the trade agenda. if we can just get the cabinet and our democrat numbers to sit
down, this proposed is the best i've ever seen. i think it ought to move sooner rather than later. >> how concerned are you about events in crimea and its affects on the years? >> i am concerned. it is more new territory for this russian president. i will tell you i have been a pretty harsh critic of the president for policy. i cannot even describe it. we are in a critical period here where he has the opportunity to work with other international leaders -- period. we have the opportunity to work with the other international leaders. i hope he succeeds. it is a crucial moment and that will shape the future of policy for a long time. i am hopeful we are bringing all
the resources we can to the table. >> can i close with one bit -- i want to put you on the spot. your gut feeling right now, the speaker boehner coming back for another term or will he be retiring? >> i do not know. it is a tough job. i wouldn't want to. it is an important remainder of the year. we want to go to the november election with momentum. we got some work to do. >> are you prepared to fight for mr. boehner to remain a speaker? would you help with that effort to keep them there? >> i will tell you what. speaker boehner has been a very strong leader. he has worked very hard for our conference. i'm going to leave that decision
to him. i trust his judgment. >> we have just a little bit of time. i want to go back to one policy issue. in the senate today, harry reid is hoping to advance the long-term unemployment issue. i am wondering what you think it's future is and should be. >> the question is not how long do we extend emergency benefits. it is how soon do we get people into good paying jobs? i think the focus is wrong. it has been a drag on the economy. speaker john boehner made that case very clearly. i want to turn to the jobs report. >> thank you. we appreciate your time. >> thank you. >> the economy has been a flashpoint between the two parties for a few years.
with the election and short number of legislative days, what are the expectations about what the legislative approach to the economic differences will be? >> this has been an ongoing debate really since lawmakers returned from their holiday recess. a lot of conservative members have been ramping up the pressure on leadership. we can only vote to repeal obamacare so many times. we can only vote to deregulate so many times. we need to stop this and start being the ideas party. we heard him talk a little bit about this. there are only 71 remaining legislative days before the election. when we hear talk about wanting to advance a health care alternative, a privacy bill. we heard about immigration bills. it is going to be very difficult for any, much less all, of the things to be able to reach the house floor and received a vote.
the republican leadership, while they want to ensure the conservatives they want to strike the contrast, i think the republican leadership is content to let the clock run out and make this a referendum on the president and his policies. >> there are going to be the potential for certain messaging bills. the ryan budget that is coming out looks to have some welfare reform component in it that republicans may want to run on. there is an effort to craft an obamacare alternative. what could actually be passed this year? sylvia burwell was just saying paul ryan and other people concerned about the defense cut, sequestration is still in effect for the pentagon. it could create potential for some deal at the white house. maybe there could be increased spending or tax loophole closings.
some say it is a bit of a pipe dream. there is concern about that speculate to some kind of action. there could be mounting electoral pressure on the minimum wages as we get closer to the election. it is something that polls very well. there could be some compromise there. >> you talk about having a blueprint to present to the voters for the house of representatives and mr. brady talks about the house being representative of a larger party. paul ryan talked about the decision within the republican party, saying i am irish, this is what families used to look like. if you peel back the lid from what is going on the internal debate in the republican party, what do you see? how do they come to a
cohesiveness for the presidential elections? >> there is a fundamental disparity between strategy. you do have conservative members of the conference, especially members elected from the tea party wave of 2010 or in 2012, who felt they were sent to washington with a very clear message. they came here to push back against more government spending, certainly against the affordable care act which was the catalyst. a lot of the younger, more libertarian leaning conservatives we read so much about, they feel as though the republican leadership team is not aggressive enough in putting forth a really sharp, aggressive, republican counter agenda. it puts forth a conservative
republican alternative on the front. i think what you're seeing now since the session came back in early january is you're seeing conservatives applying a really steady amount of pressures on leadership, saying we might win in 2014 by making this a referendum just on president obama and his health care law. in the long run, we are never going to achieve long-term sustainable electoral success unless we really sell this to the american people instead of beating up on president obama. >> it is a job of the standardbearer. >> absolutely. >> there has been a real effort. he talked about whether the party is united or not to get the most divisive issues off the table. we see every week, whether it be the flood insurance bill that a
lot of conservatives felt that was harming the program in putting taxpayers on the hook for beachfront homes, a lot of members who have people living in flood zones who needed to have that path. it had significant division. we saw that in the farm bill as well. i think what he was saying about the need to prepare for 2016, there could be a window for significant things on immigration. if there is an effort to have more of a substantive agenda. >> let's talk about tax reform. you suggested it would be a big haul in an election year to have a vote in the house on tax
reform. with the chairman term limited, what does become a blueprint? what do you see as the future of tax reform? >> that is the 64,000 dollar question. you have a lot of folks on the ways and means committee who have poured blood and tears into this for three years. they have worked on this comprehensive overhaul of the tax code. we heard rumblings last year run -- from the summer into fall months where chairman camp was repeatedly meeting with leadership and urging them to allow this plan to come out. he was rebuffed repeatedly. that agitated a lot of conservative members who said we're been waiting for three years now for this comprehensive tax reform plan to come out. we thought that leadership was on board. they even reserved hr-1 for tax reform.